Why Transit?

February 9, 2011

Caring Community

Transit is one of the many services that the City delivers and it is getting attention so I will have a series of posts on transit over the next few days to set the stage for budget deliberations.

First question – why does the City provide transit service to the community? 

You might think this is a silly question but I do receive correspondence (and not infrequently) suggesting that since transit is a “non-essential service” that we should eliminate it to reduce taxes.

Is transit a “non-essential service”? A frill? Something we could do without?  That is certainly not my opinion and  I know there are a lot of people, who rely on transit for a variety of reasons, that would vehemently disagree. 

I also know a lot of businesses who would join the chorus of support for transit because they know their employees rely on the service to get to work.  The Guelph Chamber of Commerce views transit as an essential component of a strong local economy.  The efficient movement of goods and people is important to the economy and traffic congestion is a real threat to economic productivity.

One-third of Guelph’s energy use and 45% of total greenhouse gas emissions arise from the transportation sector.  Getting people out of their cars into transit helps to reduce fuel consumption, green house gases, and air pollutants that lead to respiratory illnesses like asthma.  By the way, our buses use biodiesel.

The service also helps with the City budget in other areas.  Building and maintaining roads is massively expensive.  The more cars on the road, the more wear and tear, and the more maintenance and replacement of this costly infrastructure.  The more cars on the road, the more pressure to widen roads, upgrade intersections and put in street lights, all of which must be regularly inspected, operated, maintained, and replaced at some point in the future.

People use and/or rely on transit for a number of reasons.  They might want to tread more lightly on the planet.  They might not be able to afford their own automobile.  And a growing number of people are unable to operate a car.  Some families make the decision to rely on a single automobile and supplement their transportation needs with walking, bicycling, and transit for health and financial reasons.  We are a more affordable community for families than towns that do not have transit.

Fundamentally, transit is an integral part of being a caring and compassionate community.

About Karen Farbridge

An unwavering change maker seeking a just, democratic and sustainable world.

View all posts by Karen Farbridge

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